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Belize has 5 new International Canoe Federation certified coaches, 3 national judges

Posted: Wednesday, January 31, 2024. 6:12 pm CST.

(R to L) Amado Cruz, Grimoaldo Cobb, Amado Cruz, ICF instructor Isaac Villa, ICF vice-president Dra. Cecilia Farias, Kiri Bermudez, BCA president Elvin Penner, Joaquin Magaña – Photo Courtesy: Belize Canoe Association

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Belize has five new International Canoe Federation (ICF) coaches and three national judges, thanks to a ICF Level 1 training course in Amatitlán, Guatemala, from January 17-27, 2024, according to a statement by the Belize Canoe Association (BCA).

The ICF Training for Level 1 Coaches and National Judges (the first ones) in Canoe Sprint, which is part of the ICF Central American Development Program, was hosted by the Guatemala National Rowing and Canoeing Federation. The course, which was attended by 53 participants from Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua, covered both theory and practice sessions, as well as a final evaluation.

The newly certified coaches are Kiri Bermudez, Grimoaldo Cobb, Amado Cruz, Joaquin Magaña of the University of Belize, and BCA president Elvin Penner. Cobb, Cruz, and Penner were also accredited as national judges.

The BCA said the five are the first ICF certified coaches and judges in Belize’s history and their achievement represents a major milestone for the sport in the country. The BCA said it also supports gender equality and female participation in canoeing, and is proud to have Bermudez as one of the coaches.

“This achievement not only contributes to the elevation of Belizean canoeing standards but also highlights the commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the sport,” the BCA said.

Though the BCA noted the inclusion of one woman in the group of five, the ICF noted that only 15 of the 53 persons who took the course were women, and called for more gender equality.

“Only 28% of the people trained were women, which calls for reflection on the need to train more women coaches and officials in the activities, in order to reach the gender equality goal required by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and by the ICF,” the Pan American Canoe Federation (COPAC) said in a press release.

BCA president Elvin Penner (in red) during practical training – (Photo Credit: COPAC – Pan American Canoe Federation)

COPAC said the ICF vice-president Dra. Cecilia Farias, who conducted the National Judges Course, congratulated the participants.

“The course for coaches and judges of Canoe Sprint in Guatemala represents the kick-off for development in Central America,” Dra. Farías said.

“Following an evaluation visit in November, we were able to launch the project in January. The visit included the following countries: Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua, which were subsequently invited. Guatemala was an exemplary host, providing accommodation and food for all participants. It is very important that the federations show this commitment so that we can complement it with technical knowledge and experience.”

ICF expert Isaac Villa facilitated the Coaches Course.

The BCA said it is grateful to its sponsors – Sittee River Marina, Guinness Bowen and Bowen, Lowen’s Hardware, RF&G Insurance, and Happy Cow Cheese – for their continuous support in achieving the BCA’s objectives. The BCA also thanked the Guatemalan Federation for hosting the course and providing a warm and friendly atmosphere for the Belizean participants.

Participants with ICF instructors – (Photo Credit: COPAC – Pan American Canoe Federation)


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